Welcome To The Advanced Class!
Now that you have successfully completed the simple theme creation tutorial and know your way around the BlackBerry Theme Studio it’s time to get cooking on some of the more fun stuff! If you’ve landed here by accident or haven’t read the simple tutorial you can do so by visiting the “How to Create Your Own Personal BlackBerry Themes” tutorial.
This section was mentioned in the previous tutorial so if you have already set up your environment and started a new theme you may skip this step.
If you haven’t done so already start up the BlackBerry Theme Studio and wait for the setup menu to appear. When you see a popup like the image to the right select the model BlackBerry device you own or wish to create a theme for in the drop-down menu and then select the type of theme you would like to design.
There are three varying theme types all of which have a different menu and main screen layout.
- Custom- Allows users to completely customize every aspect of the user interface.
- Today- Allows users to create and customize a theme using the Today user interface.
- Zen- Allows users to create and customize a theme using the Zen user interface.
Keep in mind the choice is yours as to which layout you would like to use. I only recommend the Custom layout for users who are very comfortable (on their own) with the program. There is usually a small, or extensive, list of troubleshooting errors when using the Custom layout simply because so much can be altered.
Nevertheless, choose the layout option of your choosing from the drop-down menu and continue.
Your New Workstation
The BlackBerry Theme Studio will generate a sample theme for you to alter and then you will be presented with the actual program interface, similar to the image you see on the left.
All the theme tweaking and customization will be done with the menu on the right hand side of the screen known as the “Inspector Menu”. Once something in the theme has been altered the preview on the left hand side will be refreshed to compliment the change. Use the preview on the left to your advantage, the theme will appear on your individual device exactly as it does in the image on the left. That means if something is out of place here, it will also be out of place when the theme is installed to your BlackBerry.
I am not going to run through a complete tutorial as that would make for a very long guide; I am simply going to outline the varying sub-menus of the program and provide some examples/samples of what can be changed.
The Inspector Menu
Here is a rundown of all the sub-menus in the Inspector Menu and what their individual purpose is.
“Theme the Banner”- On an actual working device the information banner is located at the very top of the main screen. The Banner displays battery life, signal status, bluetooth and Wi-Fi status and related icons. Also located in the Banner section is the time and date as well as network and device logos.
What can you change? Users can change all icons which appear in the Banner, meaning they can input custom battery life icons etc. Users can also change clock and time font style, colors and size as well as other related fonts.
“Theme the Home Screen”- On an actual working device the home screen is the main screen menu which appears when no button has been pressed and no action has been activated. On the Home Screen is the wallpaper image and a small listing of favorite/recent applications.
What can you change? Users can change the home screen wallpaper for the theme as well as a banner background image for the small application menu. Font colors, sizes and styles can all be changed as well including a custom focus image (selected item icon).
“Theme the Application List Screen”- On an actual working device the Application List screen appears when the user presses the BlackBerry Menu button.
What can you change? Users can change the default background which is hidden behind the application icons as well as the focus and new item icons. Again, displayed font styles, colors and sizes can be changed for this menu. As an added feature users can also completely customize the application order on their device; meaning they can move their most used applications to the top of the menu and vice versa.
“Theme the Controls”- On an actual working device the Control menu will pop-up when additional user input or approval is required. For instance if you change an important device setting or login in to a user program a small sub-menu will pop-up that requires additional interaction.
What can you change? Users can change the background icon buttons, font, and individual colors as well as completely customize each Control menu that pops up on the device for various issues. The background title bar colors and images can also be changed (what appears behind the Control menu).
“Theme the Message List”- On an actual working device the message list appears when users navigate to their device email or messaging accounts. More specifically this is where users browse incoming or outgoing text messages.
What can you change? Every aspect of the messages window can be changed including font colors, styles sizes and highlighted message images. Users can also customize the shortcut icons that popup in the messages window as well.
“Theme the Phone Screens”- On an actual working device the Phone Screens show up when there is an incoming call, active call, or when users browse a recent call listing.
What can you change? This sub-menu is divided into three different sections relating to the corresponding Phone screens which appear, they can be selected via the buttons located in the top right. Users can change background images when there is an incoming call or active call, as well as alter the phone hotlist menu colors and fonts.
“Theme the Lock Screen”- On an actual working device the Lock screen appears when the device is locked or when the device has not been used for some time. The lock screen usually prevents unwarranted key presses when the device is in the holster or in a pocket.
What can you change? Users can change the Lock screen wallpaper image as well as lock screen fonts and icons.
“Theme the Global Items”- On an actual working device items in this sub-menu appear when the device is loading or performing a new action. Usually global items are status indicators or loading progress bars.
What can you change? You know that bar that shows up on your device at times when it is loading that displays an hourglass and progress bar? Well, users can alter the colors and fonts pertaining to that bar as well as related status indicators.
Here are a few important tips to remember when creating your BlackBerry device theme:
- The theme has automatically been generated, meaning you don’t have to change every single aspect of a theme. In fact, if you really want to you can change the wallpapers and background images for various menus and export the entire theme as is.
- When editing the theme image files create a sub-directory on your computer so you don’t overwrite stock images that the program uses.
- Have the entire theme planned as far as layout is concerned, its difficult to throw in several things as you go. Besides your themes end up looking unprofessional and thus less attractive.
- The program comes bundled with several sample themes which have been pre-created using the software. You can find the samples under the main program directory in your start menu.
- If you can’t find your device listed under the skin options you can download additional skins from the official BlackBerry Developer website.
- The best way to get familiar with the varying sub-menus is to keep creating new themes!